President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to working towards the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law.

President Akufo-Addo expressed his commitment to the passage of the long-awaited bill meeting when a delegation of the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) Ghana Chapter called on him at the Jubilee House.

The leadership of AWLN was at the Jubilee House to formally introduce the Network to the President and garner his support in addressing critical gender-related issues in the nation, including the need for an Affirmative Active Bill law in Ghana.

Acknowledging the challenges the Bill is likely to face in the current male-dominated Parliament, the President Nana Addo stressed the importance of intense advocacy and cross-party collaboration to facilitate the bill’s passage into law.

The President advised AWLN Ghana and other gender related groups to develop effective strategies through dialogue and advocacy to win the cooperation of Parliament to pass the Bill into law when it is tabled in Parliament.

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Lariba Zuweira Abudu, on her part, gave the assurance that the Bill was ready to be placed before Parliament. She explained, however, that her Ministry is finalising a new Gender policy that needed to be added to the Bill before it could be sent to Parliament

Dr Charity Binka, Chairperson of the AWLN Ghana Chapter commended President Akufo-Addo for his exemplary leadership as an advocate for gender equality, his role as the African Union Overall Gender Champion and his significant contributions to gender-related initiatives across Africa.  She noted that Ghana has made some strides in the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment, evident in the appointment of women into high positions such as Chief Justice, two of whom were appointed under the current government. However, AWLN Ghana was concerned about the low representation of women in leadership at both national and local levels. Dr Binka noted that with women’s representation of just 14.5% in Parliament, Ghana is still behind in reaching the UN’s Women’s quota of 30% representation at all levels of decision-making.

Sheila Minkah Premo, Convenor of the Affirmative Action Bill Coalition, who was also present at the meeting, highlighted the importance of the bill with reference to Article 17(4) of the 1992 Constitution. She disclosed that the Coalition and other Civil Society Organisations are having ongoing engagements with Parliament pass the bill into law. She however, emphasised the difference that the President’s influence and support would make in amplifying these efforts.

Present to add their voices to the call for the passage of the bill into law was Mrs. Elizabeth Akpalu, a gender champion in Ghana and Madam Afua Ansre, a senior gender specialist with the UN Women, Ghana. The Presidential Gender Advisor, Dr. Angela Asante-Essah, who was also present at the meeting said her office will work with AWLN Ghana to push the gender agender in Ghana.

An Affirmative Action Law is the most definite way of ensuring women’s adequate representation in Ghana’s decision-making spaces. The strategy has worked in various African countries such as Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Guinea, Kenya, Senegal, to mention but a few. There is therefore the urgency for Ghana to pass the Affirmative Action Law in order to remedy women’s low participation in political, social and economic decision-making.

An Affirmative Action law will require government to ensure equitable gender representation at all levels. It will apply to the public service, ministerial positions, independent constitutional bodies, boards of state institutions, security services and political parties.

Source: Ghana/